Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard about the issue between Marks & Spencer and Aldi; but just in case you haven’t, let us fill you in.

In a nutshell, Marks & Spencer (M&S) have stated that Aldi’s own-brand sponge cake (called Cuthbert the Caterpillar Cake) is comparable to M&S’s original “Colin the Caterpillar”.

The Aldi cake hasn’t been on sale since February; however, shoppers noticed the similarities. They contacted M&S, who then started legal proceedings and lodged an intellectual property claim against their competitor. Aldi is well known for producing own-label items which are very similar to their branded competitors to trigger a purchase decision.

There are many stores such as Morrison’s, Tesco and Asda, which also produce caterpillar cakes. M&S believes that the similarities between Cuthbert and Colin could cause consumers to think that they are equal in quality by riding on M&S coat-tails.

What we are interested in isn’t whether you are for or against either company. It isn’t even whether you think Cuthbert and Colin look less like cousins and more like twins. Instead, what we find fascinating is how social media has spread the word and how powerful an excellent social media team can be. In an age where we live much of our lives online, it makes perfect sense that companies would also talk to us through these channels.

Following the break in the news, M&S posted a simple statement thanking those for their support and using the hashtag #OGColin.

#freecuthbert Oprah

Rather than shying away from the issue, Aldi took to Twitter to retort and trolled M&S using their own slogan against them and the hashtag #freecuthbert. The fun didn’t stop here. Aldi struck genuine social media gold with a plethora of hilarious tweets and responses, even pitching a documentary idea to Netflix.

Marks & Snitches
#FreeCuthbert Netflix Pitch

Since the initial story aired, the power of social media and a hashtag has been apparent even to the untrained eye.

Since the initial story aired, the power of social media and a hashtag has been apparent even to the untrained eye.


#FreeCuthbert Cake

One of their tweets has received more than 100,000 retweets and likes. The hashtag #freecuthbert has been tweeted over 20,800 times since the story first aired on BBC Radio’s News at Ten. After a pronunciation blunder made by Victoria Derbyshire, where she laughed as she attempted to pronounce “caterpillar cake”, there were 1628 posts per hour!

With #FreeCuthbert trending on Twitter, Aldi’s social media team have used their online platform to great effect in this campaign. Not only are they generating awareness of the pending court case, but they are also creating interest, engagement and probably even additional sales! Aldi’s Twitter has been cleverly using the caterpillar cake legal battle as an opportunity to get people talking about their own products.

In addition to Aldi’s Tweets, there are loads of other #freecuthbert posts on Instagram. These range from funny memes to homemade caterpillar cake catastrophes It’s easy to search and find many accounts tagging Aldi and using the #freecuthbert! Some Instagram accounts are just reposting the Aldi tweets and riding the likes wave. Even comedian Munya Chawawa has done a hilarious “caterpillar counselling” skit you can watch here.

It is clear to see how important a solid social media team is for your business. The ability to think fast, add humour and capitalise on a hashtag has proven to be infallible for Aldi who won the internet with #FreeCuthbert. 

#freecuthbert Oprah
#free Cuthbert Jail Packaging
Caterpillar Cake